by Kate Wills
  • 5 minute read
  • January 08, 2020
How Are Regional Brands Contributing To The Global Sustainability Movement? We Find Out

Basics by Nature, Bahrain

Dinara Juju, founder of Basics by Nature

“Be natural, buy natural” is the motto of the brand Basics by Nature, which makes products for women, children and the home, all from natural materials. “We work only with 100 percent natural fabrics and source our materials worldwide,” says Dinara Juju, who founded the company in 2017. “It’s a great pleasure to be developing a sustainable brand with no plastic or toxins involved in any stage of the process. We care for our customers and see great potential and need in the market to deliver organic products.”

Originally from Russia, Dinara was inspired to create Basics by Nature when she was pregnant and felt uneasy at the lack of natural products in the market. “I wanted to wear natural fabrics, so I decided to start producing my own pieces,” she shares. “Then, I started to make pieces for kids and source all the natural accessories and home apparels. It’s evolved into a lifestyle and the brand has had great success and received positive feedback.”

The first Basics by Nature store opened in the Al Aali Mall in the Bahrain and the brand has grown in popularity as more buyers are becoming eco-conscious. “When trying to change the world, let’s make changes within ourselves first. It’s important for me to convey a bigger message to people to connect with nature at every moment, to care for our planet,” states Dinara. “Life is too short and we’re guests in this world. We borrow this planet from our children. Acknowledging this should eliminate the need to buy more and more.”

HAK The Label, Oman

Launched in 2018 by Omani designer Sayyida Hakima Al Said, jewelry line HAK The Label has been concerned with its environmental impact from the beginning. “I try to implement different ways in which I can promote sustainability through my brand,” says Sayyida. “I work with silver as it’s a recycled metal. My production is also based in a factory in Oman that has an environmental license from the government in minimizing carbon footprint.”

Sayyida Hakima Al Said, founder of HAK the Label

It was while working as a graphic designer for a London-based jewelry brand that Sayidda became fascinated by the whole design and manufacturing process and transitioned from being a graphic designer to a jewelry designer. After working with numerous designers over the years, she decided to create her own brand.

But being entirely sustainable hasn’t been an easy process. “Jewelry manufacturing is very complicated, so it’s important to find the right suppliers and people to work with. There’s still a lot of trial and error, and I’m constantly being challenged; but I love the process. HAK The Label still has a long way to go before saying it’s 100 percent sustainable, as there are many factors that must be considered. However, I’m trying to incorporate more sustainable methods into my brand strategy.”

As more of us try to use reusable coffee cups and bring tote bags to the store, Sayyida says it’s these small changes that make all the difference. “Any little change you can make to your daily life will have a great impact on the outcome,” she says. “Recycling is a great start to taking up a more sustainable approach on a daily basis.”

By Sadeem, Saudi Arabia
“When you say ‘ethical fashion’, you think of tie-dye prints and hemp fabrics. I want to make luxury ethical,” says Saudi designer Sadeem Alshehail. Her brand’s holistic approach ranges from using eco-friendly printing and dyeing methods, all the way through to reusable shopping bags and digital invoices. For Sadeem, sustainability has been a focus from the outset. “In my debut collection, for example, the Manhattan top was created as a limited-edition piece, as it was entirely made from the collection’s fabric leftovers,” she explains.

Sadeem says she first became aware of sustainability while studying fashion at the Pratt Institute in New York. “As designers, it’s our duty to create things cradle to cradle. We all need to be aware of how materials are sourced, we must consider where they’ll end and what their lifecycle is, and most importantly, what impact they’ll have on our environment and society. If all designers across the fields and industries took the triple bottom-line of ‘People, Planet and Profit’ into consideration, we can literally save the world.”

Sadeem Alshehail, founder of By Sadeem

Sadeem even goes so far as to have a seed paper business card. “I didn’t want to kill trees for paper, so I’m very happy to say that my contacts can plant my card and watch it bloom and grow into flowers, parsley, basil or tomatoes.” She says that customers in this region are starting to wake up to the importance of sustainable fashion. “The ones who do care about eco-friendly production and sustainability in the Middle East are mostly Millennials and Gen Z, which means that there’s hope for green fashion.”

Twisted Roots, UAE

Established in 2014 by Latifa Al Gurg, Twisted Roots is a Dubai-based brand that offers affordable luxury apparel that’s inspired by travel. Fashion and travel are two of the biggest contributors to our personal carbon footprint, so being more sustainable is an ongoing consideration for Twisted Roots.

“There are many ways to be sustainable,” says Latifa. “We’ve tried to take steps that are feasible for us at present and we’re looking at what else we can do in the future. We already reuse all our mock fabric from previous collections. We also use recycled fabric in our collections and source from multiple suppliers who provide different types of sustainable fabric, such as recycled polyester, and organic and sustainable cotton. We limit our waste to a prescribed amount a day and recycle as much as we can.”

Latifa Al Gurg, founder of Twisted Roots

The brand is also behind the uniforms for Expo 2020 staff, which Latifa says, have been created in a sustainable manner. She shares that the environment has long been on her mind. “It’s always been a concern to me, personally, but recently, I’ve been reading up a lot on the impact of plastic on our environment and specifically on our water sources, and this led me to look at our operation as a whole and what steps we can take,” she shares. “I believe every small step makes a difference and it’s each individual’s duty to make choices that will make the world a better place.”

Latifa admits that it has been a challenge to implement more sustainable practices alongside delivering impeccable tailoring and luxurious fabrics. “Our industry requires a lot of shipping and travel. Limiting our footprint in these two areas has been challenging and we’ve tried different ways to tackle it, but are still looking to find an optimal solution,” she notes. “But we’ll keep on striving.”

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